Following some previous scandals concerning the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar, it has been implemented since November 2015 the new WPS – Wage protection system, which was necessary after this country have been largely criticised by international rights groups and organizations.
The implementation of this new system, similar to the same kind of the ones already present in UAE and in Saudi Arabia, is basically changing the wages payment procedures: before this new set of rules the salary payments had been done also through cash or bank check, and might be transferred to an employee’s bank account if agreed by the parties.
With the amendment of Article 66 of the local labor law made on the 18th February 2015, and then become effective since the 3rd November of the same year, the new Wage Protection System has been introduced and it is currently in place for all Companies operating in Qatar, whatever is the industry field, with only the exception of Ministries, other public authorities and companies engaged in the oil and gas industry and the domestic workers.
Fundamentally it is an electronic system organized by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) and the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) to keep under control and check the process of wage payments: it aims to ensure that all companies are committed to the salary payments in a due timely manner and with the necessary transparency.
The WPS key items are the following ones:
- All employees must have a Qatari Bank account where to place the salaries paid in local currency and in accordance with the local labor contract.
- Each employer has to prepare the employees data using an excel file named CSV, initially given by the company bank, and then forwards this file to the same bank.
- The company bank will check the data and the account balance and then will proceed with the related wire transfers to the employees’ accounts once received approval from the Central Bank.
- The possible cases of non compliance with the WPS rules are related to : salary deductions higher than the 25% of the total salary, any violations related to the overtime and if the staff number is not matching with the number of working visas previously granted to the company.
The salaries shall be paid in a due date, which means at least monthly for all employees under a monthly local contract, and every two weeks for all the other kind of labourers.
In case of unjustified delays there are fines in a range between QAR 2,000 and QAR 6,000 for each employee, the suspension of the release of new work visas and even the possibility of a sentence of one month in the jail.